Sunday, July 28, 2013


This was another exciting week starting with a drive to Tres Bocas near Cotui to review progress on the Church financed  Peace Corps water Project.  We watched them dig the foundation for a future water tank.  Wallace even helped to do some of the pick work.  You can see in the following pictures that these people may be short on water, but they live in the mist of million dollar views.

We think these are power lines but we didn't dare touch it to find out.
We held a closing ceremony this week for an organization that provides services to the blind and those with eye problems.  Their principal goal is to rehabilitate and integrate blind people into society to the end they can be productive as part of the work force and integrated socially into the general population.  The Church purchased a Computerized Lensometer to help them with their work.  Members also performed service as volunteers and helped paint part of their facility.
One of our hospital projects closed out with a delivery ceremony in which we gave to them the things that were purchased by the church.  The Church donated some very specialized medical equipment that will help the doctors diagnose the children who need operations.  The following are some pictures of the ceremony and some of the children who received operations.  Many of the Relief Society sisters performed significant service.
Sister Haws gathering facts and figures to include in the final report she will make for the project.  She is famous for her detailed and well prepared reports.  Edith looks younger every day!

Darrell & Joanna Hammond were visiting this week as they are working at helping a school get non-profit registration and get started in the DR.  It was fun having them here and to eat dinner with them Friday night at a new Italian Restaurant we did not know about.
We finished the week by traveling to Monte Plata to work on the chicken coop.  We managed to get the roof on.

Edith was discussing hygiene and other issues with the sisters while the construction was going on.  Isn’t Edith wonderful!

Wallace is on the ladder again!  Watch out!


Sunday, July 21, 2013


We visited what is supposed to be one of the 10 best ecological destinations of the World (self-proclaimed) this week located in Sabana de La Mar on the north shore of the island.  But first a little background-----
Sabana de la Mar is a relatively small fishing town sitting on the north shore of the island.  It would be a decent tourist attraction if they could clean up the beach and get a decent hotel.

The bottle made it without the message


Gran Aparta Hotel La Bahia
We stayed Thursday night in the Gran Aparta Hotel de Bahia in Sabana de la Mar.  It was a 1 star- 3 story building.  (no toilet seats, shower consisting of a pipe coming out of the wall with cold water only, 1 sheet on the lumpy mattress and one sheet to pull over you, water dripping from the ceiling light bulb, 3 different floor levels inside the rooms to trip you if you aren’t alert, power black outs, an air conditioner of marginal service, the sound of generators and motos during the night, etc).  It was a fun place to spend the night.
The “Pollera Mi Papa” was across the street from the hotel.  The owner receives about 300 live chickens in the evening and by the end of the next day the chickens have been killed, plucked and sold and the pens made ready for the next batch.
Wallace ready to make a chicken run
Our primary purpose for coming to Sabana de La Mar was to visit the hospital and respond to their request for help.
Dr. Walker examining the surgery room

When you come to the hospital, you bring your own food and bedding.  We didn’t see anything that a hospital was equipped to do except give you I.V. and hope for a better day.  We will be purchasing some things the hospital needs.
Who named this as the best ecological attraction in the world hasn’t visited very many places, but without debating the point, our first step was to meet the “guide” the Sabana de la Mar branch president had arranged for us.
Pepino (the "Guide") & his wife and Wallace & Edith

Ray & Jill Johnson; Jill Dunford; Wallace & Edith Haws; Tim and Marsha Walker; Vickie & Chuck Rucker; Pepina, wife, daughter in law and grandchildren

After what seemed like endless negotiations and changing of story and wading through some pretty deep sob stories, we finally arrived at a price and went on the tour.  Of course by the end of the day, Pepino who was supposed to be a “good deal” arranged by the Branch President had taken us for about the same amount of money we had paid when we went to the north shore and took the same trip with Wesley and Sheredith in December that included a stop at a resort beach and a barbecue lunch.  But oh well, we supported the local economy.

Wallace & Edith; Jill & Rob Dunford, Vickie & Chuck Rucker; Tim & Marsha Walker, Ray & Jill Johnson

Wallace found another carving of one of his ancestors
Remains of an abandoned pier

After the boat ride into the Haitises Park, our “guide” took us to the Paraiso Cano Hotel where we were supposed to get a good deal on the meal.  As it turned out, we paid the full price of the meal plus an entrance fee and the guide got the tip under the table.  We waited 2 hours for our meal that consisted of the chickens we had seen killed in the morning and had laid on the kitchen counter until the afternoon until we arrived.
The hotel is in a beautiful setting with streams and swimming holes everywhere.

Wallace pretending to put the last stone on one of his famous stood pillars

Wallace celebrating his 65th with an auyama pie and ice cream

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We visited the Hogar Villa Bendicion orphanage this week along with Sister Marsha Walker from Arizona and Tom Burke a Canadian living here in Santo Domingo, a recent convert to the church.  He married a Dominican and has one child.  Tom is the ward specialist to help us with a project for the orphanage.  He will organize some kind of member service project to benefit the orphanage.  We will purchase things the orphanage needs.  Sister Walker was along for the ride.
Unfortunately here in the DR there are abandoned children that live on the street.  Our guard recently was taking a survey for his Phsycology class about what should be done.  He went on to explain that every morning he walks through the Colonial Zone to work.  Many abandoned children gather in this area to try to beg money off of the tourists.  The typical scenario is that a mother remarries or gets a new boyfriend who does not want a child who is not his and kicks the child out of the house. There is an agency here doing all they can for these children.  The agency is called CONANI; we have done a project for them before.  CONANI tries to find a place to put a child in if there is no family to help.  Many children in this situation are of Haitian descent.  Hogar Villa Bendicion takes in as many as they can.  They are one of the few places that will take in Haitian children as well.

Tom is big on teaching kids music and gets along with kids really well.  Within just a few minutes he won a lot of friends in the orphanage.
                                       Edith and Sister Walker solving all the Dominican problems.


On occasion we help at the bishop’s storehouse.  Sister Arias was having computer and printer problems so Edith tried to help her.  In the process Wallace copied some files onto a Sister Arias’ flash drive so he could print them off for her since the storehouse printer isn’t working.  Luckily Wallace caught a Trojan virus lurking on the flash drive before he infected his computer.  We are sure there are viruses galore on the store house computer because it doesn’t seem to have any protection program installed.
We traveled to Monte Plata twice this week to continue building the coop at the Guerrero family lot.  We are learning a lot in the process of construction.  Wallace is making changes to the design and developing a step-by-step process with pictures and diagrams so in the future the members can handle it on their own better.  We are having a lot of fun.  Wallace works along with the members, but the members are doing 90% of the work.  Edith sits in the shade and studies Spanish when she isn’t taking pictures of the process or trying to converse with family members.


Edith and Sister Despain sharing a moment just before Family Home Evening on Monday night.

Sunday, July 7, 2013



The most notable event this week was that we started the construction of our first coop.  Most of the morning was taken up with buying supplies and getting it transported to the site.  The Church has not agreed to a method of transferring funds to a Branch President so he can purchase things, so we are financing the project out of personal funds and will get reimbursed later.  This picture is a delivery of sand, cement, wood poles, tin, nails, lumber, tools, etc.

Since this is our first coop, we had some false starts and had to do a lot of thinking, but we made slow but steady progress.  We didn’t get as much done as we would have liked, but so goes it in the DR.  We are anxious to get his constructed, make needed design changes and list of materials so we can go to other Branches.

Bro. Soriano helped Wallac make the purchases.

This is the place!

Edith gets in on the action
The Wegeners taught the first Micro-Business class on the afternoon of the same day that we started the coop.  Normally, we are going to require that all the training classes are completed BEFORE any coops are constructed.
The family we are building the chicken coop for insisted that we have lunch with them.  We had brought our own lunch, but they insisted and we relented.
Edith watched the lady of the house clean the dishes with dirty water, kill the chicken in the living room, pluck the feathers in the kitchen letting the feathers fall on the floor and chopping the chicken on dirty kitchen counters.  It didn’t improve the appetite.  We are hoping and praying we don’t get sick.
The mango this little girl was chewing on was very dirty.

They offered each of us a pile of rice large enough for 3 people and plopped a piece of chicken in the middle of the rice.  There is a price war of sorts between Haiti and the DR so you can buy full sized chickens for $50 pesos right now (about $1 US).   Doesn’t that chicken look delicious?  She put it in a pressure cooker and it came out so tough it was difficult to chew.  We are still picking meat out of our teeth a day later.  They are a real nice family and we love them a lot.  We just hope we live to tell about it.
A filthy ditch carries water right next to the house.  It probably conveys every known parasite and disease known to man.  We are not sure if the family is using this water for anything, but it is right where the kids play and the pipe that brings water to the house appears to be coming from a pipe inserted in the canal, although it may just be running along its side.  Either way, the proximity is too close for comfort.

We were invited by Sur Futuro to a signing ceremony held at the Embajador Hotel.  It consisted of a lot of speeches and bragging.  This is a picture of Katia Majia, one of the people with Sur Futuro an organization we have worked with in the past.
Edith in front of the Embajador Hotel

We traveled to La Romana to plan out the details of our next Vision Project.  We will provide the materials so Los Americanos hospital can train 300 health promoters.  The health promoters will be able to recognize those with visual problems and refer them to the La Romana Clinic for a free exam.  It will be a great project.